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Winches: Part 1 in Our Lightweight DMX Scenery Automation Series

Rose Brand introduces a line of DMX controlled products that will make your “light duty” scenery automation tasks much easier and much more affordable: DMX Winches, DMX Track Runner, DMX Roll Drum, and DMX Scenery Rotator. Each of these products use DMX in a smart and practical manner for control, where a more costly and robust solution would be overkill. The focus of today’s blog post is DMX Winches, with subsequent posts to focus on the other products.

Our DMX Winches are designed for light duty tasks such as flying practicals, moon boxes, lightweight curtains, kinetic sculptures, and any other lightweight scenery piece. One of our favorite applications is controlling the independent movement of lift lines in a contour curtain (see video demo above). The winches enable us to create beautiful curtain motion choreography at just 25% of the cost it would otherwise require.

Each of the seven DMX winches in the product line are “named” for their metric load capacities as you can see below. Winch 1 has the lowest load capacity at 1 kg (2.2lbs) and Winch 50 has the highest at 50 kg (110lbs). Click through to the web site for current pricing (surprisingly reasonable) and additional specs:

Winch Comparison Chart

Item Max Load Min Load Travel Speed Lift Wire Wire Length Max Length (Special Order) Input Voltage Max Watt Size in inches
L-W-H
Weight (lbs) Notes
Winch 1 1 kg (2.2 lbs) 0.4Kg (0.75lb) 5-60 in/sec 1.5mm wire rope 12m (39ft) 15m (49ft) 120v or 230v 50 5.1 x 8.9 x 14.1 13.2 Fastest Retraction Speed
Winch 5 5 kg (11 lbs) 1Kg (2.2lb) 2-22 in/sec 2mm wire rope 10m (33ft) 15m (49ft) 120v or 230v 200 9.5 x 8.3 x 5.19 12 Twice as fast as Winch 10
Winch 10 10 kg (22 lbs) 2.5Kg (5.5lb) 2-12 in/sec 2mm wire rope 10m (33ft) 15m (49ft) 120v or 230v 200 9.5 x 8.3 x 5.19 12 Perfect for rigging lightweight drapes
Winch 10 LX 10 kg (22 lbs) 2.5Kg (5.5lb) 2-12 in/sec Kevlar + 2circ conductor 10m (33ft) 25m (82ft) 120v or 208v 300 15.7 x 11.8 x 11.8 22 Powered kevlar cable provides 5A of electricity suspended unit
Winch 25 25 kg (55 lbs) 1Kg (2.2lbs) 2-16 in/sec 2mm coated wire rope 10m (33ft) 25m (82ft) 208v or 230v 300 15.7 x 8.9 x 11.4 46 For medium duty loads with high speeds
Winch 25 X2 25 kg (55 lbs) 1Kg (2.2lbs) 2-16 in/sec 2mm coated wire rope 10m (33ft) 25m (82ft) 208v or 230v 300 27 x 8.9 x 14.25 66 Dual cable picks prevent element from rotating while raising or lowering
Winch 50 50 kg (110 lbs) 5Kg (11lb) 3.5-18 in/sec 3mm coated wire rope 12m (39ft) 25m (82ft) 208v or 230v 500 17.3 x 11 x 11.8 55 For heavier loads at lower speeds

 

It’s true that many professional automation technicians believe that DMX is not a fit protocol for hard core Stage Automation. However, when they realize that these devices are made for lightweight applications such as decor, drapes, props and practicals, they understand  that risks are severely reduced and are far outweighed by the benefits that DMX offers (i.e., you know it, you own it, and it’s incredibly fast to program).

The smaller winches, Winch 1,5, and 10, are powered by 120VAC and have a convenient Powercon connector.  One annoyance is the lack of a Powercon pass-thru for easy daisy-chaining, but this is due to the lack of space on such small devices. They use 5-pin XLR for DMX input and pass-thru. Each of these winches uses 7 channels of DMX, though only 3 are used in writing cues. Positioning can be set with 8 or 16bit precision, and speed of travel is controlled by a third channel. The remaining 4 channels are used in setup for homing and setting travel limits. The larger winches, Winch 25 and Winch 50 need 230VAC, but otherwise operate similarly.

Special features of the Winch 10LX and Winch 25 X2 are also worth mentioning. Winch 10 LX (electrics) employs a special Kevlar covered lifting cable with an integrated electrical circuit. It provides a great solution for chandeliers, on-stage lights, moon boxes, and other common set pieces as it permits a single wire to provide both lift and electricity.

Winch 25 X2 uses two lift lines, operated by two separate drums within the same shaft. Use it to prevent sway or rotation of your flown object. 

DMX Winches are a smart, practical solution for many of your light duty scenery automation needs. Sold exclusively by Rose Brand and manufactured by Wahlberg Motion & Design.